Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I thought they didn't know...

It really started when I was in high school. What started? "Kids" started to disrespect. Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp were winning a lot of regular season games; the love-affair with NY bred point guards (Kenny Anderson, Rod Strickland) was in full effect; even Kevin Johnson had been to the NBA finals. Some kid named Anfernee Hardaway was oozing with hybrid talent and NBA GMs were drooling over this Kidd who played NCAA ball at Cal. "Kids" I talked to didn't know their history and made up stats to support their claims.

Payton pushing hard
When I was a junior in high school little freshmen would step to me in these discussion and make fun of him because he actually knew how to throw a chest pass.

You can clearly see how I would think that they didn't know . . .

Time passed on and in the wake of two Steve Nash MVP awards we have reached the end of the rookie contracts for the next-gen point gods -- the proverbial XBOX 360 and PS3 that is Chris Paul and Deron Williams. Surely, a random search would show me just how little the kids knew. I'm happy to say that I was wrong.

Maybe it is just plain dumb to defend John Stockton against the legion of TNT watching "kids" who have no scope? Maybe he doesn't need any defending? Maybe it doesn't even matter?


But just because I'm thorough, and I remember once reading some people suggest that Nash was better, I feel compelled to throw a statistical smack down. [N.B. I do like Nash, after all, we are both Canadians]
Steve Nash is now 33. He has played in 860 games, and amassed a grand total of 6787 assists. That's a career average of 7.892 apg. That's pretty good. When John Stockton was 33 he had played in 980 games, you know, 120 more games than Nash has. Why? Nash gets hurt every season (well, every season except 01-02 and 02-03). John Stockton has missed a grand total of 22 games to injury over his career (19 seasons -- or someone who plays *on average* 80.85 out of 82 games every season). Maybe this is a tangent, but Stockton was much less injury prone. Back on track -- when Stockton was 33 he had played in 980 games and dished out 11,310 assists. You wanna know how many assists per game that is? That's 11.541 apg.
Nash getting close . . .
So, Steve Nash, all of 33 and having played in 12 seasons has a very respectable career apg of 7.892. In comparison, John Stockton at that same age, and having played in 12 seasons in the league, not only played in 120 more games -- but also had (at that point) a career agp of 11.541.

What's the difference boys and girls? John Stockton had a +3.650 apg than the great Steve Nash. What's more is that Stockton went on to play till the age of 40, and even in his last season, one where he played only 27.7 mpg (and 82 of all 82 games, btw), he still dished out 7.7 apg. (You know, a hair less than Steve Nash's career average with 7 less seasons played)
Okay, clearly Stock had more assists and played more games. Let's not forget that the Suns have one of the best offenses in the history of the game right now (if you listen to Locke you'd know) -- our 80's jazz teams were far from that.

Nash supporters point to the fact that Nash appears to shoot better (and empirically he does % wise), but let's look into a little more, shall we? Nash has shot above 50% fg 4 times in 12 years. Stockton has shot that well 12 different times. (6 times in his first 12 years, with a few seasons that didn't make the cut at 49.9% and so forth) Furthermore, Nash's best fg% is 53.2% -- John's is 57.4%. Nash is clearly a better ft shooter, and three point shooter (career % of 43.1 vs 38.4). You guys wanna talk double doubles?

Nash has averaged a double double 4 times in his life (all in 4 most recent seasons) starting with his two MVP seasons (03-04 and 04-05). What about John? 10 times. Best double double seasons? Nash had an 18.6/11.6 season. John? 17.2/14.5 back in 89-90. John even averages a double double for his entire playoff career of 180+ games. Owned again.

Steve does have two MVPs (diluted as they are) to his name . . . Stockton has been to the finals twice.

What does the future hold? Will Nash play till 40? Does he have 4 more all-star seasons in him? Will he ever have a season with 900 assists? (John has 5 seasons of more than 1100 assists, btw) Nash has 6 All-NBA team selections to Stockton's 11 . . . and John has 5 All-NBA Defensive team selections, Nash will never get one. For the record, Nash is probably a better soccer player.
I could go on an on, but I will spare the little kids, it's past their bed time anyway. And anyway . . . if they didn't know, then for sure now they know: John Stockton is better than Steve Nash.